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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

PUBLIC REPRIMAND NO. 2001-16



IN RE: GAYLE S. GHITELMAN

Order (public reprimand) entered by the Board October 12, 2001.

SUMMARY1


The respondent received a public reprimand for her conduct in two unrelated matters.

In the first matter, a former clientís new counsel requested that the respondent turn over the clientís file. The respondent had previously performed immigration services for the client. The respondent did not respond to oral and written requests from the clientís counsel, or to calls from Bar Counsel, asking that the file be transmitted.

Thereafter, and as a result of the respondentís continuing failure to transmit the clientís file, the clientís counsel filed a complaint with Bar Counsel in December 2000. The respondent did not respond to letters from Bar Counsel asking for an explanation, necessitating the issuance of a subpoena to compel the respondentís appearance. The respondent appeared as directed pursuant to the subpoena.

At the subpoena meeting, the respondent indicated that the file had been lost. However, the file was found after the subpoena meeting and transmitted to the client in July 2001.

The respondent failure to timely transmit a client file to successor counsel upon demand was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.16(e). The respondentís failure to cooperate with Bar Counsel was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 8.4(g).

In the second matter, the respondent in December 1998 undertook representation of a worker in an alien labor certification process. In April 1999, the respondent timely filed the appropriate I-129 H-1B application and supporting documentation with the applicable service center of the INS.

On September 16, 1999 the INS requested further evidence and granted the respondent a 12-week period to submit the requested documentation. However, as of December 22, 1999, the respondent had not submitted anything further to the INS and the INS sent a notice of abandonment of the application with notice of appeal rights, with a 30 day limitation period. The respondent took no further action.

Between September 16, 1989 and December 22, 1999 the respondent failed to respond to numerous calls and letters from the workerís employer regarding the status of the application described above.

On August 28, 2000, after a complaint was filed with Bar Counsel, the respondent reimbursed to the employer the full legal fee and costs advanced in the amount of $2,110.00.

The respondentís neglect of a legal matter entrusted to her and her failure to adequately communicate with her client, as described above, was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.3 and 1.4.

In aggravation the respondent had a prior admonition for similar conduct. However, the misconduct in these matters occurred before the prior admonition was administered.

This matter came before the Board on a stipulation of facts and disciplinary violations and a joint recommendation for discipline by public reprimand. On September 10, 2001 the Board of Bar Overseers voted to adopt the partiesí stipulation and proposed sanction. On October 12, 2001 the respondent received a public reprimand.

1 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record of proceedings before the Board.



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